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Tag Archives: Penance

Freewill, Destruction and Restoration

One of the best visual illustrations of freewill can found in the last book of the Bible.  While on the Island of Patmos, John compares freewill to a door with a special feature.  This door does not have a handle on God’s side.  Thus, God can call and knock, hoping individuals will hear His voice, but only you can let God in.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me, Revelation 3:20.

Unfortunately, disobedience is a common response to God’s calling.  According to the apostle Paul, people have a tendency to set their hearts and minds on the flesh.  Those who become distracted by the world regularly ignore, reject or put God on hold.  Jesus warned his followers of falling into this pattern, referring to a broad road that leads to destruction.  Moses in his farewell address simplifies this concept by proclaiming that each day individuals have the opportunity to select life or death by the choices you make.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires, Romans 8:5.

Fortunately, those who mess up by sinning are given a second chance.  Lamentations 3 provides a promise for those longing for forgiveness as God’s grace is available day after day.  Therefore, when you utilize freewill, opting for disobedience over obedience, there is hope for those who are facing destruction.  Yet, God is not holding your hand, forcing you to do what is right.  The choice is yours.  In view of this, lean of God’s mercy the next time you fall down, followed by acts of contrition as a sign of penance.  Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

The Savior of the World

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it, Matthew 7:13.

Two times of year at Christmas and Easter, backsliders, the religious and prodigals reunite at church.  The motives for this annual tradition vary.  Some do this as an act of penance.  Others do this as an obligation to their friends or parents.  Meanwhile, there are those who hope this visit will transform their life, praying that the Savior of the world will become real.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it, Matthew 7:14.

However, in recent years there has been some confusion over what the term Savior means.  Is Jesus the Savior of the World, for those who seek Him out?  Or is Jesus the Savior for the world, everyone included?  As Universalism expands throughout the world, the Pope and some evangelists are taking stances not found in the Bible.  Fearful of offending those outside the church, spiritual leaders are now claiming the God of the Bible is the same God as those whom other religions worship.  Unfortunately, this is not true.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves, Matthew 7:15.

During his sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about two destinations, heaven and hell.  Based upon his own words in the gospel of Matthew, those who enter hell is much greater than those who take the road less traveled.  While Jesus is the Savior of the world, He is not the Savior of all.  While this teaching may be unpopular, it comes straight from Jesus’ mouth.  I’m assuming the false prophets are those who stray from the Bible’s teaching, trying to appease a cynical culture.  In view of this, study the Bible for yourself in 2016 and you will discover the truth about the Savior of the world.

by Jay Mankus

Last Rites

No one except God knows what will be your last day, meal or words.  In the case of Jesus, I guess you can say He was born to die, causing a wide range of emotions.  As the Passion Week approached, interactions with family, friends and disciples would be his last, causing the praises of Hosanna on Palm Sunday to be replaced with “Crucify Him.”

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Today, when doctor’s sense the end is near, Catholics call a priest to perform last rites.  Otherwise known as the sacraments of anointing the sick, if death is expected, Penance and Communion is also offered to prepare one’s soul for the afterlife.  Once complete, family members gather around to savor the remaining moments of life together.  The closest thing that I’ve ever experienced was the day my grandfather died, holding his hand one last time before his last breath.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.

While hanging from a cross on Good Friday, there were only two more things left on God’s agenda.  First, Jesus gave hope to one of two criminals hanging from an adjacent cross, offering Him the promise of paradise for his repentant words.  Second, as the oldest son, Jesus wanted to make sure Mary was in good hands, commanding John of Zebedee to watch after his mother.  Though no last rites where necessary for Jesus, a perfect man, Hebrews 4:14-16, Jesus gave up His spirit with one final comment, “it is finished!”

by Jay Mankus

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